The New York Times’ report today by Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin on Clinton’s, Sanders’s and O’Malley’s speeches last night at the annual Iowa Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Dinner includes this:
“I’ve been told to stop shouting to end gun violence,” [Clinton] said, repeating a line she has begun using since Mr. Sanders said in the debate that “all the shouting in the world” would not keep guns out of the wrong hands. “I haven’t been shouting, but sometimes when a woman speaks out, some people think it’s shouting.”
I guess she’ll keep this up until Sanders or the mainstream media asks whether Clinton actually can’t recognize figurative speech and can’t distinguish between a statement to her about only her and one about groups of people that include members of both sexes.
Sanders’s comment was clear. If she misunderstood it, that doesn’t speak well for her level of skill in understanding statements by people that presidents need to communicate with. If instead she understood Sanders perfectly well but thinks the public has forgotten, and won’t be reminded of, what Sanders actually said, she’s mistaken.
The NYT article also mentions that by the time Clinton spoke, many of Sanders’s supporters already had left the hall in order to catch chartered buses or to party (or both). That’s too bad, because I doubt that had they remained and heard that comment they would not have cared much for it. In any event, I don’t see how this helps a candidate whose Achilles heel is a perception that she is somewhat dishonest by nature.
I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I don’t think this horse is even nearly dead. Sanders needs to recognize that apparently Clinton plans throughout the campaign to misrepresent his statements by selecting a clause or phrase and misrepresenting its context. Sleights of hand will be a primary tool in her campaign. He needs to respond to these quickly.
UPDATE: From CNN:
Sanders on Sunday laughed at her suggestion that his remarks were about gender.
“All that I can say is I am very proud of my record on women’s issues. I certainly do not have a problem with women speaking out — and I think what the secretary is doing there is taking words and misapplying them,” Sanders told [CNN’s Jake] Tapper. [Boldface added.]
“What I would say is if we are going to make some progress in dealing with these horrific massacres that we’re seeing, is that people have got to start all over this country talking to each other,” he said. “It’s not Hillary Clinton. You have some people who are shouting at other people all across this country. You know that. This nation is divided on this issue.”
Indeed. I think Clinton will find that this type of campaign tactic is very much out of tune with large swaths of Democratic voters right now.
Updated 10/25 at 12:22 p.m.
SECOND UPDATE: The New York Times’s Thomas Kaplan wrote on the Times’ political blog First Draft:
Hillary Rodham Clinton has seized on remarks Senator Bernie Sanders made in the first Democratic debate that “all the shouting in the world” would not keep guns out of the wrong hands, suggesting that Mr. Sanders used those words because of Mrs. Clinton’s gender.
“I haven’t been shouting, but sometimes when a woman speaks out, some people think it’s shouting,” she said at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday.
But Mr. Sanders’s past comments about gun control suggest that his “shouting” line is just that – a favored turn of phrase that he has used regularly in the past few months, long before Mrs. Clinton released her plan to address gun violence.
In July, Mr. Sanders, senator of Vermont, said that people needed to “stop shouting at each other” on the issue of guns. In August, he said that “people shouting at each other” about gun control “is not doing anybody any good.” And on Oct. 1, reacting to the mass shooting at a community college in Oregon, he said that the nation needed to “get beyond the shouting” on the issue.
Mrs. Clinton, the former secretary of state, announced her proposals to curb gun violence on Oct. 5, and in recent weeks she has been particularly vocal on the issue of gun control, a subject on which Mr. Sanders has a mixed.
Looks like this controversy is all over but the shouting. Or is about to be. And like her ‘Denmark’ sleight of hand, it’s not a plus for Clinton.
I think it’s a concern for Democrats that Clinton, who remains the party’s frontrunner, has an apparent compulsion to campaign in this way. In this instance, she managed to trivialize sexism by claiming it so obviously falsely—the woman who cried wolf—and cheapen the very process of campaigning. Why does she keep doing this kind of thing?
*The original title of this post was “Update to: “Hillary Clinton Says the NRA’s Leadership is Comprised Entirely of Women. Seriously.”